Elle Woods Henson has the West Coast Covered
Literary agent and writing coach Rachelle Gardner recently reminded me of something in her Author School session: action begets motivation. In the writing life, work life, or home life. If you do it the motivation will follow.
It turns out that motivation is not an elusive gift with which few are blessed. Motivation is not worth waiting for; motivation is in our very hands right now. The great news: my will births motivation. The scary news: the feels come only after the effort. Inspiring Ted-Talker Mel Robbins similarly discovered this life-changing truth.
Why is the snooze button so seductive? My bedtime resolve to arise by 5 a.m. gets ridiculed by morning me. My standards for what ethically qualifies as a shower become less stringent in the wee hours. And also the dogs are so comfortable.
But then I remember that action begets motivation. Our choices determine just how fired-up or washed-out we will be. As a college girl I always feared missing my chance, or as Lin Manuel Miranda transliterated Alexander Hamilton’s drive; “I’m not throwing away my shot.” I mistakenly believed that one single opportunity for greatness would arrive. Now I know that greatness is a minute by minute decision to act myself into joy, peace, patience and kindness by serving others.
Kindness may not come naturally to you. Character trait- wise it seems to have taken a far back seat as aggression, hostility and tribalism as of late. Thank God there was no Facebook during The Civil War to further divide brother against brother. Yet amid the barbs and division opportunity converges with a soul in need of that action what is created is far greater than the sum of its two parts. We were created to relate. As you care / listen / give / join another soul or souls in something more important than yourself you cannot help but be motivated.
What that will look like to you I do not presume to know but I will let you in on a pretty phenomenal little story. In 2009 Maggie Lee passed away at the age of 12. For whatever reason God took the seeds of her her life, scattered them to the four winds and inspired thousands to acts of kindness. Betsy has spent every October 29th since 2009 encouraging her city of Tifton, GA to sew seeds of kindness. Tifton has raised money for the Ronald McDonald house, food for its local pantry, and taught an elementary school generation of kids to “do the good they know.” Ellie and I have been to Tifton their myriad acts of grace and generosity motivate me to no end.
In Dallas, TX, Gina met the troops returning from war at DFW and her children honored them on MLFG Day. Ted and family in Arlington bought a Thanksgiving Meal for a hungry family. Jack in Lubbock bought a hungry-looking guy a meal, Judy in Chicago passed out Dunkin’ Doughnuts and coffee to people on State Street.
Tim and the Broadway cast of Wicked organized a clothing drive in New York, Kathy bought t-shirts for a small town and Colleen and family raised thousands of dollars for clothes for Maggie Lee’s Closet in Shreveport. Gina and Andrea collected books for a Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth and visited the elderly in a nursing home.
And Maggie Lee’s Closet, a free kids clothes closet has provided thousands of uniforms for the children of Northwest Louisiana in just five years of operation. Aprile, Debbie, Judy and Sabra serve and the community donates beautiful clothes.
More than slacktivism which only requires a swipe or like, these people chose to actively make their corner of the world brighter. They took the initiative to ask their children what they wanted to do to bless people in the world and some even had plausible ideas. Michelle had a snack stand for dog walkers in her front yard along with cards explaining MLFG and encouraging others to continue paying it forward. I have to imagine that the great swirl of goodness injected into the universe on October 29th has led to a chain of benevolent events. Not only for one day but for years to come as children learn how to be inconvenienced to help another soul.
As a side motivation it is always healthy to remind ourselves and our people that we are not the center of the universe. The reset button of acts of kindness is such a vital reality check. Hopefully in giving their time, talent and treasure to others completely different from themselves our children will develop empathy and be empowered to be the change they want to see in the world. First they must be shown those who need a bit of change not as service projects but as dearly loved children of God. Loved just as dearly as we are.
Who is bummed by the air quality? Air thick with snarky arrogance, slander, meanness, and vitriol. The negativity is virally contagious. But, guess what? So is grace! Will you decide to bring grace into your hula hoop of influence today and see what happens? Will you join me on Maggie Lee for Good Day: October 29th and spread a dash of kindness to your spot on the map?
Previous projects include:
-Baking cookies for firemen / police officers
-Donations to Locks of Love
-Paying a month’s bills for a struggling mom
-Filling up a stranger’s gas tank
-Creating “For Good” charms and digging an African Water Well with the precedes.
-Buying basketball uniforms for a local team
-Hanging out in a Laundromat and handing out quarters and detergent just for fun
-Bringing dinner to a sick, elderly friend
-Representing an indigent client
-Fostering a child
-Registering to be a bone marrow donor
-Stocking up on Dollar Tree umbrellas and handing them out to pedestrians on a rainy day
All of these projects are beautiful and were answers to the prayer, “Who needs something that I can give?” The Maggie Lee for do-gooders were single & married, old and young, rich and poor, urban and rural, friends and complete strangers, spiritual, conservative Christians and Baptists who party. All kinds of people who heard a compelling story of a little girl whose life was cut short that for God’s grace were inspired.
There are still several unclaimed states which we would greatly love to see spread the MLFG Kindness this October 29th. If you are the first one in your state to raise your hand, Email me and I will send you an amazing FREE T-shirt and cards to pass out. I ask that you would post a picture of yourself or your family/ school/ church performing one kind act on Oct. 29th.
I get that you are not a braggart. But this message of love is one begging to be injected into our social networks.
Join the Kindness Revolution” is the rebellious theme this October 29th and the graphic is reminiscent of Les Miserables. If you are not the first to claim your state and still want a t-shirt, order here. They are $20, cute & super soft. The proceeds from the t’s will be distributed between Vets and Pets here in NW Louisiana.
If you would love to act yourself into a new way of thinking and join the kindness revolution, jump over to the Maggie Lee for Good Facebook page and like it. That will connect you with all of the great expressions of God’s love being carried out this month in memory of Maggie Lee.
You do not have to wait until October 29th to give yourself the gift of motivation. Don’t wait to launch. You need not join any Facebook group to get there but I would love to see your face and have you be a part of this new wave.
Maggie Lee died 9 years ago on her way to church camp but the twelve years she lived she truly lived with deliberate, contagious JOY. If her spark can act you into motivation and remind you that kindness is the only way that our country will make it through then her message wins the day.